In recent years, anthropologists, historians, and others have been drawn to study the profuse and creative usages of digital media by religious movements. At the same time, scholars of Christian Africa have long been concerned with the history of textual culture, the politics of Bible translation, and the status of the vernacular in Christianity.
In Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions, a preeminent historian of Africa argues that scholars of the Americas and the Atlantic world have not given Africa its due consideration as part of either the Atlantic world or the age of revolutions.
Steve Howard departed for the Sudan in the early 1980s as an American graduate student beginning a three-year journey in which he would join and live with the Republican Brotherhood, the Sufi Muslim group led by the visionary Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. Taha was a religious intellectual who participated in the early days of Sudan’s anticolonial struggle, but quickly turned his movement into a religious reform effort based on his radical reading of the Qur’an. He was executed in 1985 for apostasy.
Who Shall Enter Paradise? recounts in detail the history of Christian-Muslim engagement in a core area of sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, home to roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. It is a region today beset by religious violence, in the course of which history has often been told in overly simplified or highly partisan terms.
In the early and mid-1940s, during the period of British wartime occupation, community and religious leaders in the former Italian colony of Eritrea engaged in a course of intellectual and political debate that marked the beginnings of a genuine national consciousness across the region.
Sierra Leone’s unique history, especially in the development and consolidation of British colonialism in West Africa, has made it an important site of historical investigation since the 1950s. Much of the scholarship produced in subsequent decades has focused on the “Krio,” descendants of freed slaves from the West Indies, North America, England, and other areas of West Africa, who settled Freetown, beginning in the late eighteenth century.
Since the unraveling of Western colonialism in the mid-twentieth century, Muslim nations have struggled to reconcile Islamic ideas and political movements with the state. In Indonesia, in particular, Islam and the state have long been at an impasse. While the ritual dimension of Islam has been allowed to flourish, political Islam has been defeated by various means.
Between 1880 and 1920, Muslim Sufi orders became pillars of the colonial regimes and economies of Senegal and Mauritania. In Paths of Accommodation, David Robinson examines the ways in which the leaders of the orders negotiated relations with the Federation of French West Africa in order to preserve autonomy within the religious, social, and economic realms while abandoning the political sphere to their non-Muslim rulers.
Between 1961 and 1978, Muslim Fula immigrants from different West African countries became one of the most successful mercantile groups in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. African Entrepreneurship, published by Ohio University Press on December 31, 1999, examines the commercial activities of Fula immigrants and their offspring in Sierra Leone.
This interdisciplinary book focuses primarily on Sufism (“African Islam”), Islamism (“Islam in Africa”) and, in particular, on the interaction between these different forms of Islam. Previously, much interest has been concentrated on the critical Islamist views of Western or Western–influenced ideas and patterns of life, while the intra–Muslim relationship between Sufis and Islamists has attracted less attention.
Religious activities have been of continuing importance in the rise of protest against postcolonial governments in Eastern Africa. Issues considered include attempts by government to “manage” religious affairs in both Muslim and Christian areas; religious denominations as surrogate oppositions to one-party-state regimes and as advocates of human rights; Islamic fundamentalism before and after the end of the Cold War; and Christian churches as NGOs in the age of structural adjustment.
Drawing from an extensive list of writings about Indonesian Islam that have appeared over the past fifteen years, Federspiel defines approximately 1,800 terms, phrases, historical figures, religious books, and place names that relate to Islam and gives their Arabic sources. This dictionary will be indispensable to English–speaking students and researchers working in Indonesian or Southeast Asian studies.
Twice in this century popular revolts against colonial rule have occured in the Banten district of West Java. These revolts, conducted largely under an Islamic leadership, also proclaimed themselves Communist. Islamic Communism is seemingly a paradox. This is especially the case when one considers that probably no religion has proved more resistant to Communist ideology than Islam.